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Displaying items by tag: GP14

Sutton Dinghy Club father and son pairing Peter and Stephen Boyle had a very good second day at the GP14 UK National Championships in Abersoch to be top Irish boat in 14th place writes Andrew Johnston.

The Boyles had just competed at the RS400 Europeans in Lake Garda last week. While their first time racing an RS didn't go so great, the time on the water together seems to have paid off today in the 56-boat fleet.

Speaking to Stephen last night, the duo had been looking forward to the increased 20kt+ breeze forecast for Monday after the lite stuff on Sunday.

Stephen BoyleStephen Boyle

'We had had good clean starts and blasted left up first beats. Sam Watson & Andy Thompson were the pathfinder in the first race. They had to go right and fortunately got a header just as they were released. They were about 10 boat lengths clear of us at the weather mark and we had probably another 10 to the chasing fleet. Held 2nd for triangle and sausage until we had a slow hoist on 2nd triangle allowed chasing pack to close in. Finished 4th. Sam and Andy won by a good distance. Second race same plan we went hard left up the beat. Third to the weather mark. Course was 3 triangles. At the second weather mark and subsequent weather marks, we lost a few due to a problem with the spinny halyard, dropping us back to ninth. Overall happy with boatspeed in the heavy weather. 6 races to go. Bring it on.'

Full results here

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The GP14 UK Nationals kicked off yesterday with a practice race and the first of 9 races at South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club in Abersoch, North Wales writes Andrew Johnston

With 10 Irish crews in the 56-boat fleet, hopes are high for some good finishes. 

Light to medium winds made for a challenging day for everybody. With tide a factor, it was also not clear which side was going to be favoured. Best of the Irish was Newtownards Josh Porter and Sara Goudy with 13th having been in top 5 for much of the race. Colman Grimes/Tom Fox were 18th with Keith Louden & Alan Thompson in 21st.

World Champion and favourite Mike Senior also found it difficult finishing in 26th. Budworth's Russ Cormack leads into day two with 2018 Championship of Ireland winner Ross Kearney in 3rd.

With 8 more races to go, the Irish contingent is only warming up.

Other Irish places are 24th Bill Johnson (Lough Foyle YC), 31st Hugh Gill/Joe Doherty (Sutton Dinghy Club), 33rd John, /Donal McGuinness (Moville Boat Club), 34th James Peter Hockley / Owen Mc Cauley (Lough Foyle), 36th Peter Boyle & Stephen Boyle (Sutton Dinghy Club), 37th David Johnston D/Collie Delaney (Sutton Dinghy Club) and 47th Jack Buttimer /Matthew Street (Youghal Sailing Club)

Published in GP14
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There was another race win for Sam Watson and Andy Thompson in The GP14 Leinster Championships being staged as part of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

The result puts the lead pairing 13-points clear of Donegal's  John and Donal McGuinness after six races sailed in the 31–boat fleet.

As Afloat reported yesterday here, this Nantwich and East Antrim pairing were tipped for GP14 Worlds glory in 2016, only to see Andy’s regular helm, Shane MacCarthy, take the title back to Greystones.

GP14 McGuinness 2 John and Donal McGuinness

The final races are being sailed tomorrow.

Published in Volvo Regatta
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In a year of dream team reunions - think Spice Girls and Westlife -  the one featuring Sam Watson and Andy Thompson is perhaps best placed to reach new heights this weekend. 

The Nantwich and East Antrim pairing were tipped for GP14 Worlds glory in 2016, only to see Andy’s regular helm, Shane MacCarthy, take the title back to Greystones.

Watson, who finished second at the Irish Nationals in Sligo last year, now looks intent on showing what the duo can really do at the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

With the GP14 Leinster title also at stake, a first, second and third place has left them at the top of the fleet, which at 32 boats is the biggest dinghy class racing on Dublin Bay.

GP14 McGuinness Brothers 2840Donal McGuinness (left) keeps an eye on the fleet for brother John shortly after a GP14 start on Friday. The McGuinness pairing, from Moville Boat Club in County Donegal, lie second overall

Former National champion John McGuinness, sailing with his brother Donal, pictured together above, sits four points adrift in second place, while Royal St George duo Dan O’Connell and Melanie Morris have plenty of breathing space in third.

Class newbie Alex Barry, whose early successes this year point towards an interesting trajectory towards the Worlds  in Skerries next year, currently lies in 11th place with his former All Ireland Champions crew Richard Leonard. 

Published in Volvo Regatta
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Cullaun Sailing Club, Co Clare, hosted the Irish GP14 fleet for what turned out to be the 1st event of the year following the postponement of the Mullingar event in April.

Competitors travelled from the 4 corners of Ireland with visitors from Derry, Dublin, Cork and North Down and many points in between and were
warmly welcomed to the brand new clubhouse which had only been completed two weeks previously.

The race officer had a challenging weekend with light very shifty conditions on the Saturday and windier but still shifty conditions on the Sunday. He did a great job to get in 6 races over the 2 days and gave the class plenty of starting practice!

CullaunGP14Munstersrachelthunder02A start at Cullaun Photo: Rachel Thunder

Race 1 was dominated by Colman Grimes and Matthew Street who built up a considerable lead of almost a leg at one stage but JP and Carolyn McCaldin got very lucky and hooked up with a gust on the final run and then took advantage of a 20-degree lift at the leeward mark to pinch 1st place. 3rd place went to class newcomers Alex Barry and Richard Leonard from Cork in their 1st competitive outing in the GP.

2019 GP14 Munster ChampionsAlex Barry (centre) and Richard Leonard (left) are GP14 Munster and Purcell Trophy Champions

1st Silver fleet boat was Lawrence Baalham and Robbie Richardson with a 5th place and 1st bronze went to Michael Collender and Brian

Race 2 followed a similar pattern with big shifts and multiple place changes. The McCaldins decided to start before the gun and had to go back! Keith Louden and Alan Thompson had a great battle with Alex and Richard to take the win. Lawrence and Robbie had another great result with a 3rd place with Norman and Ken Lee taking 4th. Michael and Brian were again 1st bronze.

Race 3 again saw lots of place changes with big gains (and losses!) to be made in the shifts. Alex and Richard won the race showing us all that they are definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with as the class builds to the worlds in Skerries in 2020. The Derry boys, James Peter Hockley and Owen McCauley taking 2nd place and 1st silver with Keith and Alan 3rd. 2nd silver was son and father team Conor and Barry Twohig. Again Michael and Brian were 1st bronze home.

Alex and Richard's consistency gave them a 4 point overnight lead from Keith and Alan with the McCaldins 2 points further back.

All competitors enjoyed an evening of BBQ and music in the local pub in Tulla and were treated to the skills of pool shark Hugh Gill beating all comers!

Sunday dawned with more wind, hiking would be required. Conditions still shifty, but thankfully not quite as extreme as day one.

Race 4 was led from start to finish by silver fleets Adrian Lee and Edward Coyne, giving them their first ever event race win. The McCaldins applied pressure at times but were unable to get past and took 2nd. Alex and Richard were 3rd with James Peter and Owen 4th and 1st silver. The theme continued with Michael and Brian again dominating the bronze fleet. Four races in, 4 different winners – showing how competitive the fleet is.

Race 5 was won by the McCaldins putting them on equal points with Alex & Richard going into the last race. Josh Porter and Andy Corkhill had a fabulous race to take 2nd at a photo finish with Keith and Alan 3rd. James Peter and Owen took 4th and 1st in the silver fleet - with this form they won’t be in the silver fleet long!! Richard decided to test the buoyancy of the spinnaker pole and his helms swimming ability was noted in this race! No prizes for guessing the 1st bronze boat!

The final race of the event was underway at the 5th or 6th  attempt after numerous ‘U’ flag general recalls. With the wind in a left phase Alex and
Richard started at the pin end and crossed the fleet to lead from the McCaldins at the weather mark, with James Peter and Owen in 3rd. James Peter and Owen took a flier to the right on the 2nd beat to lead considerably at the windward mark followed by Alex and Richard. The Derry boys headed right again on the final beat followed by the McCaldins but this time left paid and Alex and Richard led comfortably at the final weather mark which they held to the finish to take the race and the event. James Peter and Owen were 2nd in the final race, 4th overall and 1st silver.

Event organiser Des McMahon and Pat Biesty stopped a clean sweep in the bronze fleet which was dominated by Michael and Brian.
Overall a great event, many thanks to everyone at Cullaun Sailing Club for their hospitality and effort.

The next event, the Ulster Championships, is hosted by Lough Foyle Yacht Club on 8th & 9th June. Rumour has it the fleet will be joined by some English raiders.

Published in GP14
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This weekend's GP14 event at Mullingar Sailing Club has been cancelled due to Storm Hannah.

The Class Association are working with Mullingar Sailing Club to arrange an alternative weekend to run the event.

The Committee had looked at moving to next weekend but with the proximity to both the Munsters (Cullaun) and Ulsters (Lough Foyle) it was felt it would have a detrimental impact on all events.

Running a Sunday only event was also considered but for a number of reasons looking to an alternative weekend in the season was viewed as more appropriate.

Published in GP14
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The keenly-run GP14 Ireland Association starts its national season in the final weekend of April (27th & 28th) in the central location of Lough Owel at Mullingar Sailing Club with the prestigious O’Tiarnaigh Trophy championship writes W M Nixon. The Class Committee has worked on maximising the racing programme for all competitors, in addition to devising a format which ensures that there will be a result even if one of the two days of racing is lost due to inclement weather.

This vintage but enthusiastic class is notable for the number of young crews from GP14 strongholds all over the country who have joined the fleet in recent years, attracted by the strong ethos of mutual support and encouragement. This was much in evidence at the very special regatta in Skerries on Saturday, January 12th to celebrate the 75th birthday of GP 14 stalwart Curly Morris of Larne, an event which drew a select but very representative fleet of GP 14 fans from all over the country.

The class is now on the long countdown to the GP 14 Worlds due to be staged in Skerries in 2020, for which the 2019 Nationals & Masters at the same venue on August 16th to 18th is planned as something of a taster. But meanwhile, in addition to a season-long countrywide programme which takes in many of the GP 14 Ireland strongholds, the class already has 31 entries finalised for the GP 14 Leinsters in Dun Laoghaire from July 12th to 14th, to be staged as part of the biennial Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

Published in GP14
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2019 will be a busy year for the Irish GP14 dinghy fleet and to celebrate the progress being made in Cullaun with a new Clubhouse at Kilkishen in Co Clare and also to recognise the recent growth of GP14 sailing in Munster particularly at Youghal Sailing Club, the Geeps will compete for the Munster Championship incorporating the Purcell Trophy at Cullaun Sailing Club on May 11 and 12.

A fortnight earlier, the new clubhouse on Cullaun Lake will be officially opened on April 27th.

Published in GP14
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Ross and Jane Kearney may be based in England these days, but the former Mirror multiple champion and sail-maker is always happy to reaffirm his connections with the Royal North of Ireland YC at Cultra on Belfast Lough as he competes among the fleet leaders in the GP 14 class writes W M Nixon. And when he came second in the GP 14 Worlds in Cornwall at the beginning of the month, there indeed was RNIYC up on the leaderboard.

He promised at the time that he and his wife Jane would be racing the three day Irish GP Nationals 2018 which concluded yesterday at Sligo. While the amount of foul weather circulating in the days beforehand may have been instrumental in keeping numbers down to a fleet of 37 boats, they were well representative of every leading centre of GP 14 racing in Ireland. And as for Ross & Jane making the journey, it was well worth it - they won overall.

Ironically, the gales had settled down so quickly as former Subtropical Storm Ernesto lost its power that the problem at Sligo was light winds on Saturday and Sunday. But while Monday at first brought no wind at all, a lovely sailing breeze eventually settled in to conclude the 6-race championship on a high.

The Kearney challenge got off to a shaky start with a 7th, the winner being visiting English helm Sam Watson crewed by James Peter Hockley of Lough Foyle YC. And in second there was a real blast from the past – former Sligo GP 14 stars Tim Corcoran and Brendan Brogan persuaded each other out of retirement, they borrowed Liam O’Donnell’s boat, and they started their series with a 2nd which then became a first in the second race.

corcoran and brogan2The senior team reunited. Tim Corcoran and Brendan Brogan re-joined the GP 14 scene after many years, and showed they’d lost none of their edge as they race along well-placed under a cloud-capped Ben Bulben. Photo: David Wray/Sligo YC
The competition was decidedly cut and trust, but having moved up to 3rd for Race 2, the Kearneys were in the groove, and their scoreline for the remainder of the series was 1,1,4, and 3, giving them 12 nett points to the 21 of Sam Watson and the shared 23 of Tim Corcoran and Ger Owens, which the former won on count back, though he would have been second overall but for an OCS in Race 3. As for defending champion Shane MacCarthy of Greystones, he was off form, for after a 3rd in the first race, his best result was a second in Race 4, but his other results saw him finishing in 14th overall.

gpnats fleet3Fleet portrait - the final race, with Curly Morris and Laura McFarlane (right) leading the first round. Photo: David Wray/Sligo YC

Ger Owens (RStGYC) was to figure significantly in the final race, for as it progressed veteran skipper Curly Morris of Larne, crewed by Laura McFarlane of Newtownards, led at the end of the first round. But Ger Owens and Melanie Morris were waiting to pounce, and they were in the lead at the finish, with Curly second. However, the Kearney crew secured their popular overall win with a third to round out a championship which reinforced the image of GP 14 Ireland as a class and its all-island organisation in good heart.

International GP 14 Irish Nationals 2018 - Sligo YC Results

1st Purple Rocket (Ross & Jane Kearney, RNIYC & South Staffs SC) 12pts; 2nd The Drip (Sam Watson & JP Hockley, Nantwich SC & Lough Foyle YC) 21; 3rd 14055 Tim Corcoran & Brendan Brogan Sligo YC) 23; 4th True Belle (Ger Owens & Mel Morris, Royal St George YC) 23; 5th Trouble on the Way (Curly Morris and Laura McFarlane, East Antrim BC & Newtownards SC) 33; 6th 14214 (Keith Luden & Alan Thompson, RYA) 37; 7th Wally (Alan Blay & David Johnston, Sutton DC) 40; 8th Kalaco (Hugh & Dan Gill, SDC) 43; 9th 13247 (John & Donal McGuinness, Movillle BC) 50; 10th Speranza (Gareth & Richard Gallagher, LFYC) 51.

ross and jane4Ross & Jane Kearney, Irish GP 14 National Champions 2018. Photo: David Wray/Sligo YC

Published in GP14
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With 178 Optimists racing in the Irish Nationals at Kinsale, and Ireland’s GP14 dinghies in fine form after the massive Worlds in England as they gather for their own Nationals in Sligo this weekend through to Monday, there’s much to be hopeful about even as our cruiser-racers deal with the fallout from the multi-gale depredations on the programme in the ICRA Nationals at Galway, and the damage-forced retirement from the Round Britain & Ireland Race of Conor Fogerty and Simon Knowles in Bam! W M Nixon hopes to brighten the mood.

The remains of Subtropical Storm Ernesto could not have chosen a more inconvenient time to swing by the west coast of Ireland and the Outer Hebrides of Scotland than during this past week.

For meteorologists, one of the curiosities was that Ernesto was so all-encompassing that he included in his swirling airmass not only an enormous long plume of smoke from the wildfires in California, but dust from the Sahara. That’s globalisation, and no mistake.

Subtropical Storm Ernesto

And he also brought us in Ireland far more than our fair share of extremely humid and unstable air, lots of it moving at near gale force, with all of it very dense to exacerbate the effects of wind speed. With its added ingredients of smoke and dust, it was not only humid – it was arguably putrid.

optimists kinsale sunshine2Somewhere, the sun is shining……this was the Optimist Junior Fleet in action off Kinsale on Thursday. Photo: Robert Bateman

Seen from a lee shore, the Ernesto Effect produced unspeakable sea and sailing conditions which made race cancellations in Galway Bay inevitable. And for those already out at sea and racing in the RB & I marathon, the endlessly varying wind strengths and its many weaving directions led to widespread damage in the Sevenstar fleet, and several retirals to ports along Ireland’s Atlantic seaboard.

Up to a point, we could take it all in our stride. But when Bam!’s dejected crew were forced to pull out on Thursday morning, it was time and more to look elsewhere for signs of encouragement in the Irish sailing scene, news and stories to remind us that, until a week ago, the season of 2018 was going very well indeed, and it will soon be back on track again.

178 Optimists at the Nationals in Kinsale

So that figure of 178 Optimists at the Nationals in Kinsale is hugely encouraging, particularly when we remember that the Irish Optimist racing scene is so highly regarded internationally that teams from six other nations have come to Kinsale to race as Open division entries.

Because it’s children’s sport, some limits apply in reporting Optimist success. But when new stars such as Justin Lucas of Clonakilty and more recently Rocco Wright of Howth emerge with brilliant performances, the news gets out.

Optimists Kinsale Senior fleet3Rising star. Justin Lucas of Royal Cork & Tralee is one of Irish sailing’s most successful youth helms
And living as I do in an Optimist neighbourhood (half the houses in our road seem to have evidence of at least one Optimist dinghy in the family), part of the fascination of Optimist campaigning is its entertainment value for the rest of us. When you see an entire family (including the pooch) heading off for a championship with the total package of support RIB, several Optimists attached here, there and everywhere - with the roof-rack of the SUV also utilized – then you’re really looking at something special, yet we take it for granted.

It’s very much a combined effort, and that is something which we see manifested in other successful classes such as the close-knit Flying Fifteens in Dun Laoghaire, and the GP 14s nationwide.

GP14 Worlds 2020 at Skerries

In an era when novelty and innovation seem to be the priorities that we seek in vehicles and equipment, the GP 14 is a real curiosity. She goes all the way back to 1949 – yes, she’ll be 70 next year – and her original purpose was that, as a hard-chined boat built in marine plywood, she could be home-built by any reasonably competent Do-It-Yourself enthusiast at a time when DIY was widely popular.

She was called the GP as it meant General Purpose and most assuredly not Grand Prix, with day cruising or even longer non-racing ventures considered an option. But soon, the new boat had acquired a spinnaker, and racing was on the agenda and moving rapidly towards the top. It has stayed there ever since as the GP 14’s main purpose in life.

andy davis shane maccarthy4Andy Davis (left) and Greystone SC’s Shane MacCarthy on their way to winning the GP 14 Worlds 2016

Many new dinghy designs have appeared since 1949 to promote fresh classes, yet the GP 14 continues to trundle successfully along – more than 14,000 have been built worldwide. And though glassfibre construction has been used in some cases – Shane MacCarthy of Greystones won the GP 14 Worlds in 2016 in Barbados in a GRP GP14 – wood construction continues to be much favoured, and one of the very best builders in the world is Alistair Duffin of East Belfast, who succeeded his father Gerry in the business of creating exquisite wooden boats which are also race-winners.

duffin hull5The unmistakable look of a Duffin GP14 hull – this one won the Worlds in 2012

His boat-building skills are such that other classes try to avail of his services when there’s the tiniest gap in his GP 14 orderbook – at the moment he’s putting a new deck on a Dublin Bay Mermaid, evidence of another of Ireland’s much-loved older classes finding itself with a new lease of life.

One aspect of such classes is that they give you the feeling of being in one great big family, and certainly in the GP14s in particular, the family thread runs strong, with parents as readily crewing for children as the other way round.

The class is renowned for its provision of good value for its members. This was particularly apparent when the GP 14 Worlds of 2014 was held at East Down Yacht Club on Strangford Lough. The renowned Norman Lee of Greystones was among those taking part with his impressive compact largely self-created equipage of campervan-cum-workshop with boat and gear and spares, all of it on site and typical of a class where a monumental yet quietly effective community effort was needed each day to get the fleet – almost exactly a hundred in all – neatly away for each day’s racing.

launching at edyc6Fleets at most of the biennial GP 14 Worlds are so large that a convenient beach can be very useful, but in 2014 at East Down YC on Strangford Lough, they had to rely on a well-organised routine down a long slipway. Photo: W M Nixon

This sense of readily-supported group effort within GP 14 Ireland reached a new level in 2016, when the Worlds were set for Barbados in March. The prospect of Caribbean sailing at the tail end of the Irish winter was a mighty attraction, but the logistics of it would have been beyond most classes. Yet the unrivalled community spirit within the Irish GPs saw 22 boats being taken Transatlantic in a well co-ordinated container movement combined with an affordable travel and accommodation package which was negotiated though sensible group action, and planning well ahead.

The fact that in some magnificent racing the new GP 14 World Champion was to emerge as Shane MacCarthy of Greystones, crewed by Andy Davis, was the perfect finishing touch to a great adventure, and a timely reminder that the Irish GP 14 class has had its World Champions in the past, with Bill Whisker and Jimmy McKee of Ballyholme winning in 1975, while Mark and Paul Fekkes from Larne won in 1991.

Thus the main international focus for the Irish class this season has been the recent GP 14 Worlds in southwest England at Mounts Bay in Cornwall, where a convenient gently sloping beach provides the exceptional launching facilities required by a fleet of 117 boats, for which 17 travelled from various Irish centres, while total Irish participation was pushed above the 20 mark with our GP 14 sailors who currently live in Britain.

mounts bay racing7The distinctive shape of St Michael’s Mount dominates the race area during the recent GP14 Worlds at Mounts Bay in Cornwall. Irish helms took second and fourth in the 117-strong fleet.
Inevitably, defending champion Shane MacCarthy was something of a marked man, and going into the final race he seemed assured of the bronze. But he was pushed into fourth, and the best of the Irish was Ross Kearney with the Silver, sailing under the burgee of the Royal North of Ireland YC at Cultra, and crewed by Ed Bradburn of South Staffs SC.

After Shane MacCarthy in fourth, next best of the Irish was Ger Owens of Royal St George YC at 9th. He is one of those leading Irish dinghy sailors who is equally renowned for his successes in other boats, most of them of more modern type, yet he reckons that for sport and value, keeping a GP 14 in trim and having someone as able as regular crew Melanie Morris to campaign with makes it well worth the effort.

In a fleet of this size, everyone will have found their level where the sport is at its best, and age is no barrier. We wouldn’t dream of even guessing at the age of Curly Morris of Larne, but he has been sailing GP 14s for as long as we’ve known him, which is very far back into the previous millennium. Yet there he was at Mounts Bay, merrily sailing around with all his replacement joints in reasonable working order, and taking 19th overall with Laura McFarland of Newtownards SC as his crew.

curly morris8Supersenior Sailor – veteran Curly Morris is as keen as ever. Photo: Robert Bateman

As for top all-women crew, that went to Katy Dwyer and Michelle Rowley of Sutton Dinghy Club, who were comfortably into the top half at 41st, which gave them a solid fifth in the Silver Fleet.

With full-on across-the-board participation by the Irish entries as events concluded at Mounts Bay in the first week of August, there’s been little enough time to re-charge batteries before this weekend’s Sligo gathering. But with GP 14 Ireland in the build-up to another big one on the home front within two years, the momentum is on, with the count-down already under way towards the GP 14 Worlds 2020 at Skerries, where this year in July they’ve already staged the Leinsters, won by Shane MacCarthy with Ger Owens second and Alan Blay and David Johnston of Sutton third.

This will put a double-focus on MacCarthy at Sligo, as he’s defending National Champion, having won at Ballyholme last year. So all that’s needed in Sligo is a relenting of the weather to set the stage for the sort of racing the GP 14s relish.

It speaks volumes of a class in good heart, and with GP14 Ireland now having David Cooke of Skerries as President, there’s a strong home team in place to provide a World Championship worthy of the competitors, while on the boat front, the word is that Alistair Duffin’s order book for new GP 14s is well-filled to 2020.

World Sailing Championships on the Fingal Coast

It all means that 2020 is going to be quite a year for World Championships on the Fingal coast, as fourteen miles to the south at Howth, one of HYC’s main events for 2020 will be staging the Fireball Worlds.

john lavery david obrien9The National YC’s John Lavery on the helm and David O’Brien on the wire, on their way to winning the Fireball Worlds 1995 in Dublin Bay. The Fireball Worlds 2020 will be staged at Howth. Photo: Shane O’Neill

While the Fireball Class doesn’t have the same national coverage in Ireland as the GP 14, it continues to be a significant international force, and of course Irish faith in the Fireball is still sustained by memories of the World Championship in Dublin Bay in 1995, won by John Lavery and David O’Brien of the National Yacht Club.

The very idea that the coast of Fingal would be hosting two world championships at two different venues within the county in 2020 would have been seen as far-fetched back in 1995. But population growth has seen club development across the board in the north county – think, for instance, of the remarkable growth of Rush Sailing Club’s success – and the area’s lack of commercial shipping is a real boon when Dublin Port’s increasing activity keeps the Bay’s shipping lanes busier than ever.

Then, too, when the Atlantic weather is excessively flexing its muscles, the well-islanded coast of Fingal’s great sailing water has all of Ireland to provide a lee when the big westerlies roar across country to make racing events impossible on open water on the Atlantic seaboard.

Half Ton Classics Worlds at Nieuwpoort

So between Optimists and GP 14s and Fireballs, there is much to cheer us in the current and future scene. And as for cruiser racing, there may have been a glitch, but in the Irish Sea ISORA soldiers on, and we’ve two Howth boats – Dave Cullen’s Checkmate XV and Jonny Swann’s Harmony – in with a shout in next week’s Half Ton Classics Worlds at Nieuwpoort in Belgium. Life goes on.

checkmate xv10All packed up, and ready to go….Dave Cullen’s classic Half Tonner Checkmate XV road-ready at Howth for departure to Nieuwpport in Belgium and the Half Ton Classic Worlds which start on Monday. Photo: W M Nixon

checkmate xv11No, you weren’t seeing things – Checkmate XV travels with five crew bicycles, as getting around some yacht harbours takes longer than you think, and the exercise is good for them. Photo: W M Nixon

harmony running12Jonny Swann’s Harmony, overall winner of the all-comers Harbour Race in Volvo Cork Week, will also be representing Howth in the Half Ton Championship in Belgium. Photo: Robert Bateman

Published in W M Nixon
Page 11 of 20

Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.


At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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